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True aquatics

Jaceree

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How many plants that we use in the aquarium are true aquatics?. Plants that need to be fully Submersive to survive?

My guess is that the plants we use in the aquarium are not growing in ideal circumstances, and most of them are marginal that only find themselves underwater from flooding etc.

I watched this guy on YT growing Anubias in containers just with soil for example, and they were thriving. They are not submerged in the wild either as far as i am aware.
 

castle

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There aren't many true aquatic plants, but just because they are true aquatics doesn't mean they're easy.

p.gayi is probabaly the easiest true aquatic I've kept
 

dw1305

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Jaceree

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mort

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It makes some plants harder to get even though they are weeds since a lot of places changed the way they order/keep plants. As an example we could get vallis really easy locally but now the local shops tend to keep blister packed emersed grown plants it's surprisingly hard to find this true aquatic, the same goes for potomogeton gayi as castle mentions.
 

Null Zero

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All Vallisnerias, All Cabombas, All Ceratophyllum, Potamogeton Gayii, Elodea/Anacharis etc are some plants that come to mind in the context of "true" or obligate aquatics that live out their lives entirely under water. Vallisineria and some other true aquatics can take carbon in the form of HCO3-, which is an adaptation never seen in amphibious plants. Almost all floating plants are obligate aquatics as well. Note that not all obligate aquatics live their life entirely submerged, many of them show emergent growth as well, depending on water levels. However, all of them need water to grow and are unable to grow in wet soils like the amphibious varieties.

Most stem and rosette plants, ferns and mosses sold in the hobby are amphibious plants that grow under and above water depending on the conditions, showing significant morphological plasticity in differing environments. Quite a few of them are marginals that are able to withstand submergence/flooding for periods and manage to grow under these conditions. Some are actually semi-aquatics that only grow under water only when pumped full of light and CO2. For example, Bolbitis heteroclita is not really an aquatic plant but does manage to grow slowly if a lot of CO2 and good flow is provided.

Sorry for digressing, but interestingly enough, even many terrestrial plants are able to survive and photosynthesize under flooding due to morphological adaptation. Thinner leaves with reduced cuticles, reduction of stomata, greater surface area/biomass ratio, elongated internodes etc are some responses of flooding tolerant terrestrial plants. Obviously these adaptations are nowhere near as effective as amphibious plants, but they definitely help in their survival during short periods of flooding. A lot of terrestrial species growing in wetlands show good resilience to flooding, despite not being adapted for life underwater in general.
 

dw1305

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Last edited:

castle

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My recent googling found the term "hydrophytes" which looks like it covers plants adapted to be submerged, live under water and be adapted to highly anerobic soils. We used to have a member on here called "hydrophyte" which had some lovely looking ripariums.
 

dw1305

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Null Zero

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Hi all,
Thanks @Null Zero, that is a very useful post. We have a few that are linked <"to scientific papers">, often relating to <"Rice (Oryza sativa)"> culture or <"seasonal lakes in the British Isles">.

Research on Rice has been really useful to us, probably because a lot of the plants we grow are <"physiologically similar to rice"> or even <"rice paddy weeds">, and it also led to the, very useful, <"Leaf Colour Chart">.

cheers Darrel

Thank you for the links. The papers on rice paddy are very interesting and illuminating to say the least, especially for someone like me who is not a botanist. One of the key areas of my work involves wetland conservation and management in India, especially in areas with significant interactions between agriculture and high conservation value areas, which allows me the good fortune to visit many areas that have a huge variety of aquatic, semi-aquatic/marginal and terrestrial macrophytes that are used in our hobby. Rice paddies are a very interesting and complex ecosystems with many weeds that are used as ornamental plants in aquariums and ponds. I have seen Marsilea quadrifolia, Ludwigia perennis, Ammania baccifera, Centella asiatica, Azolla pinnata, Lemna minor, Pistia stratioites, Nymphaea spp etc growing abundantly in rice paddies/marginal areas across India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. I have collected a few too. Interestingly enough, I have never come across the quintessential "rice paddy weed" known in the planted aquarium hobby, i.e Limnophila aromatica.

I believe Oryza sativa has the ability to maintain a gas film on its leaves under submergence, which is an adaptation seen in other terrestrial wetland species as well. Of ccourse, some varieties are a lot more tolerant of flooding than others. This is in contrast to true amphibious species that have the ability to significantly alter their physical characteristics when submerged to the point where they look like a different species from their terrestrial form.

Wetlands are even more interesting in terms of the sheer variety of species growing in various zones. Unfortunately, I am an engineer and not a botanist so identification is a bit of a nightmare for me!
 

dw1305

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Hi all,
@Null Zero your work sounds interesting, wetland conservation is a really important, and getting people to not "drain the swamp" is fundamentally important, not least for long term food security now there are so few functionally intact wetlands left.

You might be interested in the <"RESPiRES project">, it is collaboration between researchers in the UK and Mexico looking at <"urban rivers, ponds and wetlands">.

cheers Darrel
 

Oldguy

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I am an engineer and not a botanist
Welcome to the forum. Good to have an engineer that is interested in plants. In a previous life I was often in a race to perform Reactive Surveys of watercourses before the digger men moved in. However it was always interesting to revisit sites that had been de-silted to find the plant communities had not really changed and were growing back. Major work was however a different matter.
 

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